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48 posts from February 2012

February 29, 2012

Rick Santorum's Bing problem

Traditional media sites (and the blogoshpere) have made much this year about Rick Santorum's Google Problem though mentioning the topic often offended delicate sensibilities.  It refers to a Google bomb columnist Dan Savage created.  It led to a web page where Republican candidate Rick Santorum's name was redefined as "the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex."  Santorum's Google problem has eased a mite as the result of a change in the algorithm the company applies to search result.  Savage has commented about his demotion on SLOG and notes the number one page now is an Urban Dictionary entry that is even grosser:

The sometimes frothy, usually slimy, amalgam of lubricant, stray fecal matter, and ejaculate that leaks out of the receiving partner's anus after a session of anal intercourse.

This change will have effects on other web sites.  GLAA.ORG has long had an enviable position when searching for the record of DC Council members on LGBT issues.  For instance if you were to enter the name of a council member along with the words gay and DC our site would be one of the top results, typically appearing on the first page.  (This was not true for the council members who are actually gay since so many article mention this fact.)  Now our ratings are not listed until the second page which makes me unhappy.  The search engine competitor Bing has not made any change to their ranking algorithm.  Perhaps people will stop talking about googling a word and start to say they are going to to Bing it.

Marriage News Watch - February 27, 2012 #afer

 

February 28, 2012

Homecoming

Welcome_home_soldier

This photo of Sgt. Brandon Morgan kissing his partner Dalan Wells in Hawaii upon returning from Afghanistan went viral on Saturday after being posted to a Gay Marines Facebook page. The Daily Beast reports.

The normalizing of images like this, showing honest, un-self-conscious affection in an indisputably patriotic context, is what we have been fighting for. What a beautiful shot. We too are America. We cannot defeat hate by hiding; we tried that before. Hooray for Brandon and Morgan and other couples who are on the front lines of our fight just by going about their lives openly and without fear.

Democrats for Santorum

I thought Second City did this as a joke.  But apparently there is some truth to it.

Jon Stewart: How Is It that Mitt Romney Hasn't Crushed this Guy Already?

 

February 27, 2012

NOM denied SCOTUS review

Maine has strict campaign finance regulations which the National Oranization for Marriage has maintained it should be exempt from.  They have lost repeated defeats in the courts and now has been refused a review of the issue by the US Supreme Court according to SCOTUSblog.

...the Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a constitutional challenge to a Maine law that requires those seeking to raise and spend money in state election campaigns to organize as a political action committee for that activity, and make significant disclosures about their financial operations.   That was challenged in a petition, National Organization for Marriage v. McKee (11-599), after the state law was upheld by the First Circuit Court.  The NOM is an organizations set up to promote the traditional view of marriage as being reserved solely for opposite-sex couples.  It argued in challenging the PAC requirement that states do not have the constitutional authority to impose such obligations unless an organization has election campaign activity as its “major purpose.”

(via JoeMyGod)

Some guy I've never heard of comes out

Fez Watley, who plays a flaming gay male character on the radio, has announced that he in in fact a gay American.  According to YouTube:

After years of struggling with his sexual identity, SiriusXM host Fez Whatley came out as gay on the Ron & Fez show on Friday, February 24. This announcement came after spending the last 20 years playing a gay character on air, while insisting to friends, family, and even himself that he was straight. In this clip, hear his emotional and triumphant announcement.
For more information on Ron & Fez and SiriusXM visit http://www.siriusxm.com/theopie&anthonychannel.

I am not sure how to react to this  I've alway been mildly offended and conflicted by straight entertainers playing gay.  (Jon Steward used to do that before he was on the Daily Show.)  On the one hand it was a recognition that gay people exist while on the other their portrayals were always gross sterotypes.  I wonder if that is how African Americans felt about watching people in blackface before the modern civil rights era.  Will the lisping, flaming gay sterotypes that heterosexuals use to portray gay men become as forbidden as blackface?  It would be interesting to learn if this development will affect the portrayal of his character, though not interesting enough to actually tune in to this thing.

And speaking of sterotypes and blackface, I didn't see Billy Crystal's appearanace on the Oscars last night.  I don't care enough about the Oscars to actually watch them.

(via Towleroad)

February 25, 2012

Capehart stands up to Christie's bullying

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I'd have posted this earlier if I hadn't been busy with GLAA's Elections Project, but the above video from the Feb. 23 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe includes a confrontation between Jonathan Capehart and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on the subject of marriage equality. The discussion of Christie's veto of the New Jersey marriage equality bill begins at about 8:42 in the clip, with a wisecrack from Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough about the alleged alliance between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney in the previous evening's GOP presidential debate. Capehart enters the discussion at 13:09.

The argument centers on the false but widely repeated assertion that President Obama has the same position on marriage as Christie because both have opposed marriage equality while supporting civil unions. But as Capehart and others point out, Obama (A) applauded New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's signing of his state's marriage equality bill; (B) has opposed statewide referenda on the issue; and (C) has declared DOMA unconstitutional and refused to defend it in court. Christie did his best to obfuscate this point by his bullying, but Capehart was not intimidated and, thanks to Scarborough, was given the last word. Capehart personalized it, saying that if he and his partner married and raised children, he would want them to enjoy the same legal protections that Scarborough's children enjoyed because Scarborough was able to marry.

Thanks and congrats to Jonathan for standing up in this way. It was one of his finest moments.

February 24, 2012

Evans dominates GLAA's D.C. Council candidate ratings #DCision12

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013

February 24, 2012

Contact: Rick Rosendall, Political Vice President
202-667-5139 

Evans dominates GLAA's D.C. Council candidate ratings

Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans dominated the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C. (GLAA) candidate ratings for the April 3 D.C. Council primaries with a score of +8.5. Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser earned +6.5. They were the highest-rated candidates in this election cycle. GLAA held its ratings meeting on February 21. A key to available ratings points is provided below.

The following are explanations of the individual ratings for D.C. Council primary candidates. Note: Ratings marked with an asterisk (*) indicate a candidate who did not return GLAA's questionnaire and was therefore rated solely on his or her known record on GLAA's issues.

Continue reading "Evans dominates GLAA's D.C. Council candidate ratings #DCision12" »

It Gets Better

If you missed the MTV It Gets Better special it can now be streamed on-line.

February 23, 2012

Inter Network News

Pink News has reported that Grindr, the "location-aware gay social app" has started promoting LGBT issues through its network of 3 million users.  Among it's efforts:

...a message to closeted US army personnel during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal.  It welcomed servicemen with a link to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network’s contribution page, with more than 5,000 user click-throughs.

Grindr also says it was involved in the overturning of Proposition 8 and the passage of equal marriage rights in New York last year.

There were more than 57,000 click-throughs to a petition calling on St Petersburg not to pass a law against ‘gay propaganda’ which eventually garnered 250,000 signatories worldwide.

In other internet news the Washington Blade reports on MPD participation in a sting that allegedly targeted gay men for arrest who who sought to “entice” or “persuade” juveniles for sex.

[Assistant Public Defender for D.C. Jonathan] Jeffress told the Blade that among the sites targeted in the sting are Gay.com, BarebackRT.com, and SexPigs.com, which are widely known as dating and sex hookup sites for adult gay men. He said he knows of at least 20 arrests of gay men in the sting operation in which the undercover detective met the men through these websites.

The Blade mentions that the 20 men arrested are only those seeking counsel from the Public Defenders Office and the actual number of arrests is likely much higher.

Marriage News Watch - Special Edition #afer

 

February 22, 2012

GLAA Announces 2012 Distinguished Service Awards

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013
www.glaa.org
www.glaaforum.org (blog)

For Release:
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Contact: Rick Rosendall
202-667-5139

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., is pleased to announce its 2012 Distinguished Service Award recipients. GLAA presents awards to local individuals and organizations that have served the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community in the national capital area. The awards will be presented at GLAA’s 41st Anniversary Reception on Thursday, April 26 from 6:30 to 9:00 pm at the Washington Plaza Hotel at 10 Thomas Circle, NW. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at www.glaa.org/anniversary/, where a range of donor levels is also available.

GLAA’s 2012 Distinguished Service Award recipients are:

Burgundy Crescent Volunteers
Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League
Ruby Corado
Jeri Hughes
Will O’Bryan
Jeffrey D. Richardson

Continue reading "GLAA Announces 2012 Distinguished Service Awards" »

February 21, 2012

Marriage News Watch - February 20, 2012 #afer

 

Villanova cancels Tim Miller workshop: We're for intellectual freedom, as long as you agree with us

Tim MillerTowleroad reports that Villanova University, which is on the "Main Line" west of Philadelphia and is run by the Augustinians, has canceled a week-long workshop by performance artist Tim Miller, which had been scheduled months ago by an assistant professor of communications, because it would not be in keeping with their Catholic values. Here's a statement released Monday by the University:

Villanova University embraces intellectual freedom and academic discourse. Indeed, it is at the very heart of our University and our Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition. With regard to the forthcoming residency and performance workshops by Tim Miller, we had concerns that his performances were not in keeping with our Catholic and Augustinian values and mission. Therefore, Villanova has decided not to host Mr. Miller on our campus. Villanova University is an open and inclusive community and in no way does this singular decision change that.

As it happens, I minored in communications at Villanova back in the 1970s. They and the English Department were hotbeds of subversion (from a conservative Catholic and Augustinian point of view, you understand). The censorship on display here is why I don't give them money. But what's interesting and amusing is that a faculty member had scheduled the notorious Tim Miller to give a workshop, and for a long while that appeared to be fine.

Ah, how medievalist obscurantism manages to survive in the midst of modernity. I loved my college days, and have many treasured memories of my years at Villanova; but I'm awfully glad I'm out of there. Still, I'm proud to point out that famed lyricist Al Dubin ("42nd Street," "I Only Have Eyes for You," "Lullaby of Broadway," "We're in the Money," "Tiptoe through the Tulips") co-wrote our alma mater. ("When the twilight shadows gather out upon the campus green....")

(Hat tip: Mitch Wood)

Santorum aide: reference to Obama's "radical Islamic policies" was just a slip

Rick Santorum's press secretary, Alice Stewart, went on Andrea Mitchell's program on MSNBC on Monday to talk about her boss' comment over the weekend about President Obama's "phony theology" (which of course Santorum never intended to suggest that the President is not a Christian -- heaven forfend). But rather than putting out that fire, Ms. Stewart started another by referring to Obama's "radical Islamic policies."

Shortly thereafter, while Mitchell was still on the air, Stewart called her to say the line was a slip of the tongue. She had meant to refer to Obama's "radical environmentalist policies."

I mentioned this story at the coffee shop this morning, and my friend Walter said, "That happens to me all the time. Just the other day, I said, 'The funeral will be at an environmentalist temple.'"

Yes. When a person's campaign drops dog-whistle comments with such regularity, it cannot credibly be called a slip of the tongue. Keep talking, Senator. It may play well to your base, but come September....

February 20, 2012

Seth & Amy on mandatory trans-vaginal probes

SNL looks at the Republican war on women. Amy says don't get her wrong, Trans Vaginal is her favorite airline.

February 17, 2012

GOP unveils a new winning strategy

The Onion News Network has reported on a new development in the Republican race for the president.

I suppose some think this is a clever joke.  Older Americans will remember Richard Nixon winning office by claiming to have a secret plan to win the Vietnam war which he wouldn't reveal until he was elected.

Jon Stewart on glitter bombing

More clever than a pie in the face but less clever than something actually clever.

(via Towleroad)

February 16, 2012

Santorum Backer Friess suggests "aspirin between their knees" as contraception

I was watching Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC today when Foster Friess, the big-bucks backer of the Super PAC supporting Rick Santorum, said, "You know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly."

Wow. Really? Yes, he really said that. Mitchell was momentarily speechless. Politico reports. Essentially, Friess called any woman who uses contraception a whore. What planet are these people on? What century are they living in? I can tell you one thing: the America they would impose on us is not the country I know and love. Don't forget to vote.

NJ Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg on marriage equality

The clip above shows the leader of the New Jersey state senate during debate on that state's marriage equality bill before it passed in that body. Today, the Star Ledger reports that the New Jersey General Assembly today passed the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act on a 42-33 vote.

Congrats to our friends in New Jersey on this victory, notwithstanding Gov. Christie's veto threat. The bill's supporters have nearly two years to gather enough votes in the legislature to override Christie's veto.

February 15, 2012

CANCELLED: March 3 - Kameny gravesite ceremony

According the the Washington Blade:

A grave site ceremony for the late gay rights leader Franklin E. Kameny will be held March 3 at D.C.’s Congressional Cemetery, organizers of the event announced on Wednesday.

“All friends, family and the public are welcome to observe the interment for Dr. Kameny at historic Congressional Cemetery,” the announcement says. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

According to the Blade the plot will be located next to that of Leonard Matlovich.  The cemetery is located at 1801 E. Street SE, Washington DC

(via DCGayEtc)

February 14, 2012

Violent words, violent acts

My column this week looks at the scandal over the Super Bowl tweets by CNN contributor Roland Martin in which he jokingly called for anti-gay violence. With a look at comments from GLAAD, the National Black Justice Coalition, National Association of Black Journalists, and "same gender loving" activist Cleo Manago.

Read it here.

Maryland marriage rally

 

The AP reports:

In search of the votes to solidify the legalization of gay marriage, advocates rallied Monday night hoping to sway delegates who have not yet committed their support.

Gov. Martin O’Malley, who spoke to the crowd of hundreds, said he still needs to collect the votes of “a couple” of lawmakers in order to move the bill through the House of Delegates.

Star Spangled Banner -- Whitney Houston

In the aftermath of the death of singer Whitney Houston on the eve of the Grammy Awards, her talents have been fittingly celebrated. Her early death, like that of too many other stars, presents a cautionary tale of the pressures of fame. What has annoyed me in the past few days, though, has been the endless series of short clips showing her singing just a few bars of this or that.

Here, then, is the complete video of her glorious rendition of the American National Anthem at the Super Bowl in 1991, in honor of those who served in the first Gulf War. Speaking of the troops, taking care of each other is one of the hallmarks of military training and bonding. The lesson to take from Houston's untimely death is not only to take care of yourself, but to look out for each other. Addiction is not something one can overcome alone.

In watching her performance again, the long-held final note is the most glorious thing of all. She had good teachers, including her mother. This was a young woman who knew the mechanics of singing and put it all together to make the absolute most of her gifts.

February 13, 2012

Marriage News Watch - February 13, 2012 #afer

Winning a marriage initiative -- it'll happen soon

Gov. Christine Gregoire's signature on Washington state's marriage equality law today marked another victory in the growing movement for the protection of all our families. It also, inevitably, will set off a drive by our opponents for a ballot measure to overturn the law. Voting trends over the past dozen years or so, however, have shown a shrinking margin of victory for the anti-gay forces. Sooner or later the pro-equality forces are going to win one. This may be it. A well-run campaign (translation: NOT TIMID) and a strong voter-turnout effort will be crucial. Let's do it.

Thanks to Gov. Gregoire and the bill's supporters in the state legislature, and congrats to our fellow marriage equality activists in the other Washington.

Washington State enacts marriage equality

WA4M

Washington Gov. Christine Gegoire has signed the marriage equality bill.  While a referendum on the bill is expected there are reasons to hope voters will uphold the right to marriage equality.  Voters rejected a referendum to repealed civil unions.  The effort to repeal civil unions in the state created a network  to defend the law.  With each passing day public support for marriage equality grows.  And more and more states grant marriage equality the fears that demogogues stir are shown to be false.

Updated:  Here us the video.

 

February 11, 2012

CPAC Rap

The Conservative Political Action Conference is in town and there are the usual stories about how many attendees are attempting to score on Craigslist and how many Grindr fans there are.  But the Huffington Post has found this gem of the crowd gettng down to Fox News contributor Steve Crowder and Chris Loesch the husband of conservative commentator Dana Loesch rapping about "Mr. America.

February 10, 2012

Video: Gay beating victim Brandon White speaks out #HateCrime #lgbt

 

20-year-old Brandon White, victim of a brutal anti-gay attack, bravely comes forward and speaks out against hate violence. Metro Weekly reports. As Keith Boykin notes in the video below, this makes a fine contrast with Roland Martin's homophobic Super Bowl tweet joking about violence.

The National Black Justice Coalition writes about the recent spate of attacks here.

 

February 09, 2012

A Valentine for Newt from The Capital Steps

The Capital Steps send you a Valentines Day 2012 greeting.  And Truth Wins Out seems to have an issue with Newt "Swingrich" Gingrich as well.

(via JoeMyGod)

February 08, 2012

Illinois joins the crowd

If you have been keeping a list of states taking up the issue of marriage equality this year you can add Illinois now that State Reps Greg Harris, Deb Mell, and Kelly Cassidy filed a marriage equality bill in Illinois General Assembly.  Chicago GoPride reports:

HB 5710, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, provides that all laws of Illinois applicable to marriage apply equally to marriages of same-sex and different-sex couples. 

The bill comes on the heels of Tuesday's ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, holding that California's denial of marriage in favor of domestic partnerships for same sex couples violated the U.S. Constitution.

Ted Olson on Rachel Maddow

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

Ellen spanks One Million Moms

Ellen Degeneres took a few minutes on here show to give One Million Moms a spanking.  She pointed out that their Facebook page shows only 40,000 members.  They had called on JC Penny to ditch her as spokesman because she was an affront to traditional values.  The retailer has declined to do so.  Ellen explains her own traditional values to the audience:

I usually don't talk about stuff like this on my show, but I really want to thank everyone who is supporting me. Here are the values I stand for. I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you'd want to be treated and helping those in need.To me, those are traditional values. That's what I stand for…I also believe in dance.

(via Towleroad)

February 07, 2012

9th Circuit rules #Prop8 unconstitutional

This just in from Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry:

Moments ago the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. This is a huge win for freedom to marry supporters in California and continues the growing momentum for the freedom to marry nationwide.

We congratulate our colleagues at the American Foundation for Equal Rights, who filed this lawsuit. With this case and others possibly making their way to the U.S. Supreme Court, we must create the climate that empowers judges and politicians to do the right thing, maximizing our chances of winning.

Will you join Freedom to Marry in doubling down on the work?

http://freedomtomarry.org/Prop8Decision

The clock is ticking, and each day we must work to grow the majority for marriage, win more states, and end federal discrimination -- the Roadmap to Victory. With your help, Freedom to Marry will make as strong a case in the court of public opinion as our legal advocates are making in the courts of law.

Join us in making the case by making a contribution today of $250, $100, $50 or $25. Your investment in our campaign is clearly making a difference -- to families, to our communities and to our country.

Donate now to help Freedom to Marry end marriage discrimination nationwide once and for all....

Thanks for all you do,

Evan Wolfson
Founder and President, Freedom to Marry

Click on the AFER link above for their latest updates (as I am writing this, they have not yet posted a news release).

This is a great day. The battle in court continues, of course, as this ruling will likely be stayed pending appeal. Congrats to AFER and all involved. As Evan points out, we have much work ahead of us. But as Frank Kameny said, the tide of history is with us.

Update: Greg Sargent has an interesting discussion at WaPo of the implications for President Obama and his evolution on marriage equality.

Karen Handel resigns from #Komen for the Cure

Karen-Handel

Karen Handel, the right-wing former gubernatorial candidate behind the disastrous decision by Susan G. Komen for the Cure to end funding for Planned Parenthood, has announced her resignation from the organization. She'll speak to reporters this afternoon in Atlanta, and it looks like she'll go down fighting.

This does not settle the matter — more heads need to roll, as our colleague Craig Howell says, and more answers are needed regarding Komen's grantmaking process — but it is a good first step and gives hope that Komen will get back on track and avoid going under as a result of Handel's contribution to the recent epidemic of right-wing overreach. Women's health is more important than political gamesmanship. Unfortunately, women's health generally, and the right of women to control their own reproductive status in particular, has been made political by those whose religion inspires them not to reform themselves but to try to control others. It is part of the battle for America. This week, the pro-freedom side is winning.

(Hat tip: Joe Jervis)

The fuss over the Queen's #DiamondJubilee

Young_Betty_Windsor

Our good friend Bob Witeck on Monday posted the above photo on Facebook with this comment:

Today's milestone must be marked as the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's remarkable reign, and a moment to recall the young princess who grew into a sovereign.

With all due respect, what in the world is remarkable about it other than her sheer longevity? Her job is purely ceremonial, is entirely out of date, and reinforces romanticism about what was a far more bloody and ruthless empire than many are willing to admit. Look up the Opium War and the Amritsar Massacre. Yes, those events were long ago. The Falklands war wasn't so long ago--a bizarre colonialist adventure. What unthinkable horrors would have befallen England had Betty Windsor publicly criticized Thatcher? Then there is Hong Kong, which was acquired in a disgraceful way. It was only a few years before they had to turn it over to China that the British Crown (as they perpetually refer to themselves) at long last decided to democratize the place. Please.

The fondness for the British royals by many Americans is baffling. We fought a war to be free of them.

Update: Bob Witeck replies:

Rick, two words: Costume flicks. No matter how irrelevant the monarchy in the 21st Century, my own appetite for historical (and even contemporary) films about the royals is still strong. What a crop in recent years with Helen Mirren playing QEI and QEII, Emily Blunt playing Victoria, and flock of English players playing everyone from Richard III to Prince Harry. There are enough narratives, melodramas, murders, misbegotten romances to fill movie theaters till kingdom come.

That I agree with. There is certainly no shortage of drama with that lot.

February 06, 2012

Marriage News Watch - February 6, 2012 #afer

 

Wolfson v. Brown in debate on marriage equality #no4m #freedomtomarry

I would say Evan Wolfson of Freedome to Marry had much better arguments that Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage.  I just wish he had mentioned that the civil rights of African-Americans WERE put the the vote on several occasions.  And the public took their rights away.

Vigil for Deoni Jones #trans

Deoni Jones is the transgender woman murdered at a bus stop last week.

Vigil-Deoni